Rise of the Hyksos: Egypt and the Levant from the Middle Kingdom to the early Second Intermediate Period
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 02:56 by Anna-Latifa Mourad
The Second Intermediate Period of Egypt is characterised by the destabilisation of the Egyptian state. It is recognised as the time in which the ḥḳ3.w ḫ3s.wt ‘rulers of foreign lands’, or ‘Hyksos’, extended their control over Egypt during the Fifteenth Dynasty. Investigations into how the Hyksos were able to gain such control remained dependent on Manetho’s affirmation of an Asiatic invasion until recent excavations at Tell el‐Dab’a disclosed new data on their dynasty. Since then, much debate has circulated on the rise of the Hyksos, with scholars advocating one of three models: (1) invasion; (2) gradual infiltration and peaceful takeover; or (3) gradual infiltration and violent takeover. The Hyksos have also been argued to be from either the Northern or Southern Levant, the confusion partly due to a lack of an up‐to‐date study assessing Levantines, their growing influences on Egypt, and whether this influence helped the Hyksos establish their rule. The thesis is a response to this need and focuses on the rise of the Hyksos by tracing Egyptian‐Levantine contact from the Middle Kingdom to the early Second Intermediate Period. It outlines the development of the status of Levantines in Egyptian society, and reassesses the changing nature of Egyptian‐Levantine relations. The approach is holistic, gathering archaeological, textual and artistic evidence that reveals intercultural contact. Special focus is placed on archaeological ethnic markers to identify the presence of Levantines in Egypt. The Egyptian concept of ethnicity is also utilised as a means to differentiate between Egyptians and a Levantine ethnic group in Egyptian textual and artistic compositions. The methods are proven to be well‐suited in determining the rise of the Fifteenth Dynasty, offering significant insight into its origin. Consequently, current knowledge surrounding Egyptian‐Levantine relations and the collapse of the Middle Kingdom are illuminated, and new light is shed on the enigmatic Hyksos dynasty of Egypt.